Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Who Benefited from the Vietnam War?

I still have not made up my mind about Harold Meyerson's Why Were We in Vietnam?.
"Or we could argue that our onetime opposition to communism was noble and all that but that, unburdened by the illusions of the past, American business, backed by the American government, has realized that the problem with communism wasn't that it was undemocratic but that it was anti-capitalist. And that once communism was integrated into a world capitalist system, its antipathy toward democracy not only wouldn't be a bad thing but would actually be good. That is clearly the political logic that underpins our involvement with China. It's a little dicier to say this about our growing involvement with Vietnam, since all those Americans whose names are on that wall on the Mall probably didn't realize how compatible with global American enterprise Vietnamese communism would turn out to be or how the cause of democracy would turn out to have been of no real importance at all."
Except to ask who benefited from whipping us up into a froth of anti-Communism. Yes, I belong to that generation of the 70's who thought Communism/Marxism was a pretty silly sham of a secular religion without any legitimate claim to protecting the proletariat (since they were not doing a very good job of protecting their own workers and certainly not as good as helping our local prols as the UAW). So I never grew up thinking there was anything specially dangerous to us from the Commies (unless they got the idea we were going to nuke them first). So who did benefit from the anti-Communism of Buckley and McCarthy?

Or put this another way, why is it that we still have a Cuban embargo? Other than all those Cuban-American voters in Florida?

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